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Queen Charlotte (Helen

Mirren) units the " Mad

King” (Nigel Hawthorne) in

The Madness of King George.

Photo courtesy of Photofest.

Copyright © 2008 Heldref Publications


Representing the Crazy King:

George III in the Cinema

By simply David Chandler

Abstract: The " madness” of George III has turned him one of the best-known United kingdom monarchs but has also problematized his representation. The author briefly considers the value of the necessary absence of illustrations prior to the mid-twentieth century, prior to examining in more detail compelling motion picture portrayals from the " Mad King” in Beau Brummell (1954) as well as the Madness of King George (1994). Equally films spotlight the importance of George III's relationship together with his eldest kid, and thus support a psychological explanation of his condition, but while Love Brummell is sympathetic for the son, The Madness of King George casts the son while the villain. Both motion pictures proved relevant to their times; their different behaviour to George III reveal changes in the well-known perception from the British hoheitsvoll family involving the 1950s and 1990s. Keywords: Beau Brummell, King George III, The Madness of King George, representation 73



JPF& T—Journal of Popular Film and Television

e George III's illness,

often referred to as his

" madness, ” is the most

famous illness in British history, and

definitely the one together with the largest

effect on British world. Its value can be assessed in 3 principal ways: in the personal consequences; inside the change impacted in popular attitudes to the monarchy; in addition to the influence on the comprehension of mental condition. The winter of 1788–89, when the King initially became irrefutably deranged,

helped bring the initial " Regency Crisis”: the

Prince of Wales, antiestablishment from his

father and a close friend of leading

opposition politicians, would certainly

replace the government if perhaps George 3

was reported unfit to rule and he were

appointed Regent. No additional political

catastrophe in British history, not even the

Jacobite rebellion of 1745, which fascinated Walt Scott and inspired his development of the nineteenth-century

famous novel, was so intrinsically

theatrical, thus focused on children and

generational drama. Although the crisis

passed—the King retrieved and no

Regency was declared until 1811—in

many ways the consequences of the illness

were permanent. The King's sufferings,

and the advantage taken of them by

his opponents, engendered widespread

compassion and made him genuinely well-liked for the first time in the long rule: no Uk monarch have been loved

by the general populace since Full

Anne's loss of life in 1714. His recovery in

1789 prompted a quite unparalleled

outpouring of celebratory passages and

tackles. This newfound popularity

eventually led to a fresh and substantially

enduring notion of monarchy in Britain, one out of which the Full (or Queen) was both equally parent and figurehead with the

nation (Colley). The marketing given the

King's disease, moreover, generated " a fundamental change of attitudes” toward insanity, which became widely recognized, for the first time, because curable and " challenging of sympathy” (Macalpine

and Hunter 291).

This article examines the two principal

motion picture representations of George III's

insanity. It should already be obvious

Copyright © 2008 Heldref Publications

that any fictional portrayal with the King's

" madness” must balance numerous

sometimes contradictory concerns. Family members drama was national catastrophe; illness and medical treatments (and opinions) had been

political capital; and rivalling claims

of truth, spectacle, respect, and sympathy should be resolved. Like this are not enough, you will find the central mysteriousness of the illness itself. George III retrieved in 1789, but he was not remedied.

The illness all of a sudden returned in

1801, producing another Regency Crisis, although on a smaller scale than that of 1788–89. A third attack followed in

1804 and a next in 1810, from which...

Reported: New York: Harper, 1984.

MGM/UA Home Video, 1993.

Month to month Film Bulletins 22 (1955): 2 .

Birmingham: Faber, 1992.

ed. London, uk: Faber, 95.

———. The Madness of King George. London: Faber, 1995.

Brooke, John. Full George III. London:

Policier, 1972.

Land. ” Previous and Present 102 (1984):


Eldridge, David. " Hollywood Censors History. ” 49th Parallel 20 (2006): 1–14.

III. New York: Scribner, 1941.

vols. London, 1867.

Lane, 69.

Everett and Ian Holm. 1994. DVD. FilmFour, 2001.

The Chaos of George III. ” Literature

Film Quarterly 27/2 (1999): 90–96.

Builders and Collectors. London, uk: BBC,


Cecil Cost. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon

P, 1973.

Southey, Robert. The Poetical Works of Robert Southey. London, 1847.

Oxford: Oxford UP, 1908.

Trench, Charles Chenevix. The Royal Illness. London: Longmans, 1964.

Ustinov, Peter. Special Me. Birmingham: Heinemann, 1977.


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